Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ETV+ in an end-of-year interview that the government cannot emulate Norway and support each person in paying their increased electricity bills, because those really in need would be left without aid.
The Norwegian government recently announced a electricity support package, which will provide deductions on electricity to every household. The scheme will take effect as of December 2021 and remain in place until the end of March 2022.
Kallas told ETV+ that Estonia does not have the funds to launch such a support package. "In comparison with Norway, when looking at it by GDP, our package is double that of Norways to support people. But we do not provide it for everyone because of we have a limited amount of resources," Kallas said.
"We have an ongoing health crisis, we need to acquire vaccines, we need to acquire tests, we actually need to invest even more in healthcare services. If we were to do something with those resources, we cannot do anything else. If we distribute it to people, who actually do not need it, we cannot help those that really do," she added.
Kallas added that she asked state-owned energy group Eesti Energia for flexibility and rescheduling of electricity bills. She does not support dropping fixed electricity prices, however. "Eesti Energia or Estonian electricity production companies are attempting to stop fixed-price contracts because they are not useful for them. That should not happen. It should be clear that if a person or company has mitigated risks by fixing the price and if this means they get cheaper prices, they should not be punished if prices soar," the prime minister explained.
Prime minister: Government has been sailing from one crisis to another
Kallas said her government can be characterized by sailing from one crisis to another and that there has not been a movement of relief yet. "We took over in government during an acute health crisis. We also had an economic crisis and a value crisis. We also had an international reputation crisis, but that has somehow been forgotten. We also had a corruption crisis," the prime minister said.
"We have been left with a health crisis and have now seen a security crisis and an energy crisis. We did not expect it to be easy, but we also did not expect it to be this difficult," she added.
Kallas responded to recent criticisms of her leadership and work as prime minister and said that there is constructive criticism, which can take you forward and that there is criticism for other goals.
She pointed to communication with the National Audit Office, for example. "In the summer, after we exited the second coronavirus wave, I asked them to gather up all the lessons this crisis has provided to improve because it was clear that a third wave was to come. I also asked the state auditor general to work on these lessons, they were finished in October. We finished our lessons in July and changed our behavior respectively. Later, when the auditor general came with his reccomendations, most of them were actually already implemented. That is actually a good example of how the process actually works," Kallas said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste